Primary Colors

If you’re like me, you probably get confused when trying to recall the primary colors. Red, green and blue, or was it cyan, magenta and yellow? Both actually. You learned it way back in art class, you knew it at one point in your life, but unless you work them on a regular basis, you probably forgot the details. Here is a refresher on what you should already know.

Primary colors cannot be created from other colors. Instead, they are the source for creating all other colors. The confusion comes from the there are two sets of primary colors: one for pigments and one for lights.

The three primary pigments are cyan, magenta and yellow. Mixing these in the right proportions creates all other pigment colors in what is called the subtractive color mixing process. Remember mixing too many Play-Doh colors together and eventually losing all color? If you mix the three primary pigments together, you eventually get black.

Mixing colored lights, however, uses the additive color mixing model with red, green and blue as the primary colors. Mix them all together and you get white. This is how your old RGB monitor, TV and computer screen work.

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